Introduction to HTML

HTML, which stands for Hypertext Markup Language, is the standard markup language used to create web pages.

HTML consists of HTML elements, which define the different parts of the document. The web developer uses HTML tags to specify which elements go on a given page. For example, you can use HTML tags to specify headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, images and much more.

What do I need to create HTML?

You don't need any special equipment or software to create HTML. In fact, you probably already have everything you need. Here is what you need:

Do I need to be online?

No, you do not need to be online to create web pages. You can create web pages on your local machine. You only need to go online when you want to publish your web page to the web (this bit comes later).

The next lesson will show you how to create a web page in less than 5 minutes.

About HTML

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and it's the standard markup language used to create web pages.

HTML is a subset of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) and is developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG).

Is there an HTML Standard?

Yes. Actually, there's two standards... or three, depending on how you look at it.

The W3C Standard

One group, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), maintains the HTML5 specification, which is a "snapshot" of the specification at a particular point in time.

The W3C also maintains a HTML 5.1 Nightly, which includes modifications to the specification that will be released at a later date (and under a new version number - HTML 5.1).

The WHATWG Living Standard

The other group, the WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group), maintains what they call a Living Standard for HTML. This is a standard that is continually updated.

There are no version numbers (i.e. it is HTML not HTML5). The standard can (and does) change on a regular basis. The reason behind this is in order to stay relevant with browser implementations. It can also avoid issues with browsers implementing features from a "snapshot" specification that potentially contains known bugs, issues or limitations.

Which Version to Use?

Fortunately, there are not many differences between the W3C's nightly document and the WHATWG's Living Standard.

If you want to implement the latest features (potentially with limited browser support), then the WHATWG Living Standard is probably the way to go.

If you prefer to keep your HTML documents strict to a specific, non-changing standard, then the W3C official recommendation is the standard for you.

The code in this tutorial adheres to both standards (unless otherwise specified).